When choosing which type of wheelchair ramp is best for your business, there are 8 main qualities that make modular aluminum ramps the best choice:

1. Aluminum ramps cost less

People often choose materials other than aluminum because the raw material typically costs less. However, the installation cost of a wood and concrete ramps is much higher than aluminum which makes the overall initial cost much higher.

For example, a wood ramp costs about $110 per linear foot according to Fixr.com, so a 30′ ramp with a 5’x5′ platform would cost about $3,850 for material. To build the ramp, you will likely need two carpenters ($70 per hour) for two days. That means that labor costs will exceed $2,200. In total, a wood ramp costs about $6,000.

Aluminum ramp prices are not typically based on linear foot. Most aluminum ramp manufacturers base their price on how many prefabricated sections you need. Get a quote on an aluminum ramp. Installation costs for a 30′ aluminum ramp typically cost about half the amount of wood or concrete.

Aluminum and wood wheelchair ramp price comparison bar chart
Aluminum and wood ramps initially cost about the same amount of money when you consider installation cost.

2. Aluminum requires less maintenance

Outdoor wood, concrete, or steel ramps require more maintenance than aluminum.

1) Wood usually rots over time, and you must replace it because of poor maintenance. Wood requires staining or sealing to protect it from moisture.

2) Concrete will expand and shrink as the temperature changes, which causes the ramp to crack. There is no way to prevent cracking.

3) Steel and galvanized steel will eventually begin to rust which reduces the structural soundness. Galvanized steel or painted steel will prolong the ramp’s life. However, when you scratch the coating, moisture will inevitably begin to rust the steel.

Check out our suggested maintenance for aluminum ramps.

rotting wood wheelchair ramp
Wood ramps without constant care and maintenance will rot quickly.

3. Aluminum ramps do not require building permit

Most cities consider wood and concrete ramps as permanent structures because you cannot move them easily, so you will typically need a permit.

Aluminum wheelchair ramps have a modular design, so you can disassemble, transport, and reassemble them with ease. Since aluminum ramps are technically considered “portable”, they typically do not require a building permit. Aluminum ramps are the best type of wheelchair ramp because they save the builder time and money.

4. Aluminum weighs less

Aluminum has the best strength-to-weight ratio. It is a strong material, yet it is much lighter than any other wheelchair ramp materials. Aluminum’s light weight makes it ideal for wheelchair ramp construction because it is easy to assemble and move around if necessary.

5. Aluminum ramps are adjustable

Modular aluminum ramps have adjustable platform legs and ramp section legs, so you can easily install the ramp on uneven ground and still have a level surface. Wood and concrete ramps take longer to install because making them level on uneven ground is much harder.

6. Prefabricated ramps are installed in hours

Depending on the length of the ramp, it can take up to a week to install a wood or concrete ramp. Upside’s aluminum ramp is a modular, prefabricated design, so you can install it in a few hours. View the ramp assembly instructions.

7. Aluminum decking is slip resistant

Since wood can acquire a slimy, slippery film from moisture accumulation, you must apply grip strips to the surface. You will need to replace these strips multiple times throughout the life of the ramp.

Aluminum ramps have a slip-resistant decking that provides better traction than wood ramps and are much safer for the people who use them. Upside Innovations uses a solid, extruded decking with small, raised ridges for traction.

8. High resale or scrap value

Aluminum ramps have a much higher resale or scrap value than wood or steel ramps because they stay in good condition for much longer.

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